Wednesday, 27 August 2014


Good Morning to you,

Last evening was a very exciting evening in the music world, as Kate Bush held her first concert for 35 years at the Hammersmith Apollo.  The tickets went on sale in March and 100,000, yes 100,000 tickets were sold within minutes. 

I have always enjoyed Kate's music and I can remember, the very first time I heard Kate singing.  It was in 1978 and Kate was singing Wuthering Heights. 

When I first heard Kate singing on the radio, I have to be quite honest, I was not sure what to make of her.  I don't mean this as a criticism, but the reason I was unsure was that Kate's voice was and still is unique, but the more I heard her singing the more I enjoyed her music.  

The first album I bought of Kate's was the 1978 album 'Lionheart' and I still have it in my collection.  It is hard to let go of all my old albums as they are a part of my music history. I keep thinking to myself that I will pass them on to Danielle, who as you know collects vinyls, but then I think, well maybe I will keep them for another year and then give them to Danielle next year.... and so it goes on.

Do you know, I can remember where I was and what I was doing when an album is being played. The music I love has the ability to transport me back in time. I can play a track and remember where I was. For instance, 'Dancing on the Ceiling' by Lionel Richie, I remember dancing at a Summer Ball wearing a beautiful evening dress.... I even remember the evening dress.  I used to love getting dressed for these evenings, choosing which dress to wear, choosing the shoes and jewellery to wear.  These night's out were always wonderful evenings.

So music for me is more than a sound, music is also filled with wonderful life memories.

.... and I just know those people who are lucky enough to see Kate's performance, will have a wonderful evening and it will be a memory they will never forget.

As well as music, food conjures up memories, and today,

I am making a Feta Cheese Dip.... and yes I realise I used Feta Cheese on Sunday, but do you know, there is a hint of Autumn in the air, the mornings are not quite as warm as they have been and I noticed the spiders are busily weaving their webs around my garden... that is always a sure sign that Autumn is on it's way.  Feta is a cheese I associate with warm sunny days and we tend to eat more Feta cheese in the Summer, so I thought as the days are getting shorter and shorter it would be nice to celebrate the last throws of summer.

So 'it's on with the pinnie' and I wonder, can you guess who I am listening to today?

Yes that's right, it can only be Kate Bush.  I just love 'Cloudbusting', 'The Man With the Child in  His Eyes' and  'Running Up That  Hill ', oh yes and 'This Woman's Work'.... there are many, many more songs I could list, but I would be producing such a long list that you would become bored.

So with 'Babooshka' playing and yes I am singing, but not as well as Kate, but that is alright as no one is listening,  it is time to organise my ingredients.


250g Feta Cheese
2 Spring Onions
4 Sun Dried Tomatoes
1 clove of garlic
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
1 tablespoon of olive oil


Slice the Spring Onions
thin slices.
Set aside for the moment.

Cube the Feta cheese
and place into a food processor
and blitz.

If you do not have a food processor,
please don't worry,
mash the feta with a fork or a potato masher.

Peel the garlic
cut into small pieces
and add to the Feta cheese
and blitz.

grate the garlic 
add to the Feta cheese
and stir.

Add the oregano to the Feta cheese
and either

Add the sun dried tomatoes
to the Feta cheese mixture
and blitz
finely chop the sun dried tomatoes
and stir into the 
Feta cheese.

Add the olive oil
to incorporate the olive oil
stir into the rest of the ingredients.

Now this is where you have a choice,
you can either
stir in the finely sliced spring onions
to give a crunchy texture,
you can do as I do and that is
add the spring onions to the mixture
in the food processor

Well that is not strictly true, as I remove
half of the Feta Cheese Dip and 
add half the finely sliced onions and
mix together for George
as he loves the crunchy texture.

Whereas I love a smoother texture 
the spring onions
to the food processor and
blitz to produce a smoother texture.

Which ever version you prefer,

We enjoyed this Feta cheese dip with toasted Walnut bread and a few baby tomatoes.  The Feta cheese dip is a very strong tasting dip, as Feta cheese is a strong tasting cheese and the sun dried tomatoes are full of flavour, so I find baby tomatoes are a nice accompaniment, but there is one thing I need to mention, if you normally add salt to the tomatoes, on this occasion please don't as Feta is a salty cheese.

This dip can also be enjoyed with crudites. Cut up  pieces of celery, cucumber, carrot and pepper and you will have a lovely dip to share with friends.

Now, you might have noticed, that in the photograph of the Feta cheese, there was olive oil and oregano in the dish.  Well,

do you remember on Sunday we made Feta Cheese with oregano, garlic and olive oil.... well I had an extra one in the cupboard, which was from a batch I made a couple of weeks ago.  This is what I used, so all I had to do was add the sun dried tomatoes and spring onions.  I thought, just in case you had not had the time to make these little jars of sunshine I would give you step by step instructions.

Before I go, I must mention that I will not be posting on Sunday, as I will be posting on Monday morning instead.

So take care and I will see you on Monday.

This week I will be joining,


Sunday, 24 August 2014


Good Morning to you,

It has been raining..... not just a little.... but quite a lot just lately.

Now being English, I just know, that as I have started my first sentence talking about the weather, you are going to assume that I am going to continue talking about the weather..... well, I am breaking with tradition, as I am going to resist..... yes honestly, I am going to resist.

You will see why in a moment.

Yesterday, I was busy catching up on my emails, when I happened to look up, and out of the window, I saw a very spritely, elderly lady, rushing by.  On her head she wore a scarf and to protect her scarf she had donned a plastic covering.  In her hands she had two shopping bags filled with her shopping and because of this little plastic covering, she did not need an umbrella, as it freed her hands to carry her shopping.

I have to tell you, it has been many a year since I have seen one of these plastic coverings.  I will describe it to you, as once described, I feel sure you will know what I am talking about. Imagine a square piece of cellophane, roughly twelve inches by twelve inches, which has been folded into a concertina. Once folded, each end is stitched and on each end, a length of ribbon  is attached. When it rains, the plastic cover is shaken, which opens the concertina and it is then popped over a hat or scarf and the ribbons tied..... and there you have it, protection from the rain.

I remember as a child, seeing many ladies wearing these plastic coverings to keep their hair, hat or scarves dry.  I remember Ivy, always had one tucked inside her handbag which she would bring out when the need arose.... and she always had a spare, which I wore on more than one occasion, but that was a long time ago and I did not think women wore them anymore.  So I spoke to Sadie, and asked her if she could remember the last time she wore one of these plastic coverings. She disappeared from the room for a moment and went into her cupboard to fetch her bag, she rustled around in the bottom of her handbag and like a rabbit out of a hat, she produced a plastic covering.... and promptly put it on her head to show me. She told me that lots of her friends still wore these plastic coverings when it rained as they were so useful, but when I spoke to Phyllis, she said that none of her friends wore plastic coverings anymore.... so it must depend on where a person lives as to whether they are still popular.

Today, I don't have to worry about popularity, 

because I know Feta Cheese with Oregano, Garlic and Olive Oil is very, very popular in my household.

So, it's on with the pinnie and the music I am listening to today, I just know you will love,

the one and only Bobby Darin.  Don't you just love 'Beyond the Sea', 'Mack the Knife' and 'Dream Lover'. I'll let you into a little secret, when 'Splish Splash' started playing, George and I could not help ourselves, we had a little bop around the kitchen..... you never forget the dance steps do you.

So whilst the energising 'Early in the Morning' is playing I will organise my ingredients.


500g Greek Feta Cheese
2 garlic cloves
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
(2 tablespoons if shop bought)
Approximately 3/4 pint of extra virgin olive oil


3 x 1/2 pint jars with lids
Sterilize the jars in the normal way


Cut the Feta Cheese into small cubes.

Finely slice the garlic,

Remove the leaves from the
dried oregano

Half fill the 3 jars with the cubed feta cheese 

Sprinkle oregano over the feta cheese,
make sure you have enough left
to repeat the process.

Tuck a bay leaf into each jar


divide  the sliced garlic 
between the three jars.

Top the jars up with the 
remaining Feta cheese
and sprinkle the remaining oregano
between the 3 jars.

Fill each jar with olive oil
(you can see a couple of pieces of Feta cheese
poking  through the oil.... I dealt with them
and pushed them back into the oil!)

Place the lids on securely.

This next little bit is totally optional.

Cut out three 7 inch rounds of material with pinking shears


place over the lid of the jars.
Secure the material with elastic bands.
Tie with ribbon or string.

Store in a cool place.

Now, I cannot tell you how long they will last,
because in our house they do not last
very long,
but I should imagine as long as the Feta 
cheese is immersed in the olive oil
they should last for a month or so.

The reason I cut the material rounds is that I am going to give two of the jars to friends as gifts.  I always enjoy making any gift I give look attractive.

Oh I have to tell you before I go,  if you listened to 'Early in the Morning', Bobby Darin was singing with 'The Rinky Dinks' I don't why, but that name just tickled me. Does anyone remember 'The Rinky Dinks'?

Oh yes, just one more thing and then I am going. I thought I would mention, don't worry if you cannot fit all the Feta cheese into the jars, as I had a couple of pieces left over. Now what to do with them..... well I see them as 'cooks perks' so I popped them into my mouth and ate them.....feel free to do the same.

Take care and I will see you on Wednesday.

This week I will be joining,


Wednesday, 20 August 2014


Good Morning to you,

It is official..... I am getting old.  

Well, I have to tell you, that is not my opinion, as I don't think I am getting old, but since I reached retirement age, I keep getting all sorts of phone calls from people who think I am old.

"Do I need a stair lift to get upstairs?" one young man rang and asked me. 

I replied,  "No, I am as fit as a fiddle and walk around with out any problems."

He then asked, "Did I need help getting into the bath?"

" No I replied, because I am as fit as a fiddle and walk around with out any problems."

Then he asked me, 

"Do you need railings on your bed, to help you get in and out of bed each day".  

You've guessed it, 

"No I replied, because I am as fit as a fiddle and I walk around with out any  problems."

He went on to ask me another question, and I burst out laughing.  I said "Look, I have answered three of your questions, and I have told you that I am as fit as a fiddle, I really do not need any of these items which you are offering me.  I continued, I appreciate, there probably are people of my age who do need them, but I don't."

He then said, 

"That's a shame because I was going to ask if you needed a walking frame"......  at this point I really started laughing.  

He then said "Come to think of it, you don't sound like a regular 62 year old.... you sound quite young".  

To which, I said "Thank you, that is a very nice compliment".  I said goodbye, very nicely, and put the phone down before he could ask me any more questions.

It then got me thinking, what does a 62 year old woman sound like? 

Does something suddenly happen to our voices, is there suddenly an indication in our voices that we are of retirement age. I must make a note to check out my friends voices.... will they betray their ages.... I wonder.

Of course I am only joking, I do know it is because my name has appeared on some or other register, so I am targeted for apparatus which obviously companies feel at the age of 62 years I will need.

Truthfully, if I wanted to buy something, I would not buy from someone who is cold calling me, as I would do the research myself before I decided to buy anything.

....and don't get me started about life that is a whole other story..... who needs a free pen for signing on the dotted line.

At the moment, I am fit and healthy and I am going to keep being polite to the young men and women who call me, because I know they are only trying to do a job..... but I will keep saying no, when asked if I want a walking frame.... or maybe when the time arrives I will say yes.

Talking of aged, today I am making,

a Broccoli and Stilton Tart.  The aged part of this tart is the Stilton Cheese.... one of George's favourites.

So it's on with the pinnie, and the music I am listening to is,

Western Film Themes..... now that took you by surprise didn't it. The reason this music is playing is because George is in the kitchen and he is reading his paper.  So I thought I would play this album as he loves western films.... I have to be honest there are some pieces of music which I have never heard of.... I know 'The Big Country' and 'The Magnificent Seven', 'Rio Bravo', oh yes and 'The High Chaparral' and 'Bonanza' I was in love with Little Joe as a teenager.... weren't we all.

So while 'Dances with Wolves' is playing I will organise my ingredients.


200g plain flour
100g butter
1 egg yolk
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon of water
(more if needed)


225g broccoli
175g Stilton
6 eggs
1 small red onion
3 tablespoons of milk
1 tablespoon of olive oil
sea salt

Pre-heat the oven to 160C

You will need a
10" round tart tin


Make the pastry base in the usual way
and blind bake the pastry case.


Cut the broccoli into florets
cut any large florets
into smaller pieces.

Half fill a medium sized saucepan
with water
and bring to the boil. 

Blanch the broccoli for 3 minutes.

While the broccoli is blanching,
fill a medium sized bowl with water
and add some ice cubes.
This will prevent the broccoli from losing it's colour
and prevent further cooking.

Drain the broccoli and leave to stand for 5 minutes
to remove any excess water.

Then lay the broccoli onto  paper towel
to remove any lingering water as you don't
want your tart to be soggy.

Chop the red onion into small pieces.

Place the olive oil into a small pan
add the red onion.
Cook until translucent.

Spread the onion into the base of the pastry case.

Arrange the broccoli over the onions


break the Stilton into small pieces
and arrange over the broccoli.

Whisk the eggs


add the milk to the eggs
whisk again.

Place the tart onto a baking sheet
pour the egg mixture into the tart.
(This makes it easier to put the tart
into the oven)

Bake for 25-30 minutes
or until the egg is cooked 
and the top is golden brown.

Allow to cool for 10 minutes,
then remove the tart from the baking tin.
Cut yourself a slice

We tend to enjoy this Broccoli and Stilton Tart with a light green salad as the tart itself is very filling.  It really does make for a lovely lunch.

If Stilton is not the cheese of your choice, then use a good strong Cheddar Cheese as that works very well.

George loves Stilton cheese, so this is the perfect tart for him.  I actually don't like Stilton cheese very much,  but when it is cooked with broccoli and placed in a tart I actually enjoy it..... strange I know.... is it my age???

Take care and I will see you on Sunday.

This week I will be joining,


Sunday, 17 August 2014


Good Afternoon to you,

Today, I am going to be making a,

Blackberry and Apple Pie.  Nothing unique in that, but it is the first time, I am going to be using,

an enamel pie plate. As you can probably see, it is buttered, ready and waiting for action.  The reason for using this enamel pie plate, is because I discovered it recently whilst I was out shopping.  I popped into the Grainger Market to buy some fruit and  came upon a small shop which sold enamel plates....  I immediately thought of Bob, George's father.

I think I have mentioned before, Bob was the cook in the family, he would cook and bake and Sadie would clear away after Bob. Don't think this was mean spirited on Bob's part, as Sadie said, she much preferred clearing away, to cooking, so it was a very good partnership.

.... and where does the enamel plate fit in?  Well, one of the first pies I remember Bob baking in the 1960's, was a beef and onion pie.... and it was baked using an enamel plate.  Bob always called these pies, plate pies and I can remember how well cooked the base of Bob's pies were, there was never a 'soggy bottom' in sight.... I am using Paul Hollywood's description of an undercooked  pie base.... brilliant isn't it. 

So while in the market, I bought some blackberries along with some Bramley apples, which had been grown in Kent and when I arrived home,  I set about organising myself to make a Blackberry and Apple Pie.... well not before I had put my feet up for a few minutes to enjoy a cup of coffee and a scrummy chocolate biscuit.

So today, even before I put on my pinnie, I am listening to,

the soundtrack to the 1985 film, 'Out of Africa', whilst I am drinking my coffee.  I close my eyes and the music is so relaxing.  I love this film and I love the soundtrack, which is quite co-incidental, because so does Lynne from Irish Garden House.  We were talking about music the other day and Lynne mentioned that she loved the soundtrack to 'Out of Africa' and I told her I loved it as well, so it seemed the perfect time to listen to it.

I have finished my coffee and chocolate biscuit, the music is still playing, so it is time to get up out of the chair, to organise my ingredients.  

So now, it's on with the pinnie and here are the ingredients you will need.


5 medium Bramley applies
200g Blackberries
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
100g demerara sugar
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of cornflour

I have given the ingredients for the pie crust
but not photographs showing how to make the pastry,
as we have made pastry so many times before.


300g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
150g unsalted butter
1 teaspoon of butter to
 butter the pie tin.
1 egg yolk
1-2 tablespoons of iced water
1 teaspoon of caster sugar
to sprinkle over the pie


Pre-heat the oven to 180C

Make the pastry and place in the fridge for 
30 minutes.

Butter a 10 inch enamel pie plate

Remove the pastry from the fridge
roll out half of the pastry.
Line the base of the enamel plate with the pastry
and using a knife, trim the edges.


Mix together the
demerara sugar,

the cornflour
and the


Set aside for the moment.

Peel, core and quarter
the apples
and place in a bowl.
Pour the lemon juice
over the apples 
to prevent the apples from  becoming brown.
As each apple is peeled, cored and quartered
toss in the lemon juice.

the cinnamon, cornflour and
demerara sugar mixture.
Toss together
until all the apples are coated.

Wash and dry the blackberries

arrange both the apples and the
blackberries on the
pastry base.
Don't worry, as the plate will be piled high with
apples and blackberries.
I layered apple first, then filled in with blackberries
then another layer of apple
and another layer of blackberries
and so on.

Using a little water, brush the edges
of the pastry.

Roll out the remaining pastry 
for the lid of the pie.

Remember the pastry will need to be much
larger than the pie plate as the apples
and blackberries are piled high.

Place the pastry lid over the fruit
and seal the pastry,
by pressing the edges
together using a fork.

Cut out four leaves to decorate.

Oops, as you can see, one leaf
has gone astray.

Brush the pastry with beaten egg
sprinkle with caster sugar.

Bake for 45 minutes
or until the pastry is golden brown.

Isn't this pie huge.... I promise, you will not 
be disappointed.

Pretty impressive don't you think.
I removed a portion of the pastry lid
because I wanted you to see that the fruit
remained firm when cooked.
Although the blackberries and apple released
some juices, it did not spoil the base of the pie.

Bob always swore by enamel pie plates and do you know I think he was right.  This was a trial, as I had expected to find the base to be uncooked, but it was thoroughly cooked, even nicer because there were so many juices.  I think next time I might add a little more cornflour, to make the juices a little thicker.

Do you have a trick for thickening pie juice.  I have heard of semolina being layered on the bottom of the pie, but this is something I have never done.

I think Bob would be proud as he loved pies in any shape or form, but as he grew older, he developed a very sweet tooth.  I really feel he would have had a smile on his face when he sat down to enjoy this Blackberry and Apple Pie..... with a spot of Devonshire clotted cream.

Take care and I will see you on Wednesday.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...